LMU Faculty Join Kentucky Association of Nurse Anesthetists to Combat Opioid Crisis
More than 130 people die each day as a result of opioid overdoses. This alarming statistic paints a picture of a public health crisis that has medical professionals searching for ways to help stop the widespread addiction.
This week, the Kentucky Association of Nurse Anesthetists (KyANA) launched its Opioid Stewardship Initiative to combat the crisis. Dr. Joy Goins, an instructor of nursing and clinical coordinator in the Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) Caylor School of Nursing (CSON) Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) nurse anesthesia concentration, serves on the organization’s board as the director for region four and worked on the initiative which seeks to educate patients and provide tools to dispose of medicine at home.
The initiative was launched to coincide with the celebration of National Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) Week, January 19-25. In addition to providing educational materials for CRNAs across the state to provide to patients, it also provides tools to help patients safely dispose of medicine at home, providing packets of DisposeRX, a treatment that will dissolve excess medication.
“The opioid epidemic is currently a growing crisis in the United States. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are highly trained advanced practice nurses who are experts in pain management and the proper use of opioid and other pain medication,” Goins said. “The KyANA cares about this growing problem in our state and wanted to do something a little different. KyANA president Jana Bailey put together this amazing plan that has the potential to change and save lives throughout the state. The disposal packages we’ll be distributing are free to patients and will hopefully help keep some opioids from falling into the wrong hands.”
DisposeRx at-home medication disposal packets are comprised of materials that are FDA-approved for oral medications and provide a convenient solution for the disposal of unused or expired medications. The active ingredient in the medication is chemically and physically sequestered in a polymer gel when water and the DisposeRx powder are added to a prescription vial and shaken. Patients can then throw away the vial in the household trash and eliminate the temptation to misuse unused medication.
Goins said the board will begin educating the more than 1,000 KyANA members and encouraging them to share information even more broadly and specifically to rural pharmacists throughout the state. Many LMU nurse anesthesia students participate in clinical experiences throughout Southeast Kentucky, which is just minutes from LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee. The students also will be educated on the initiative to help spread the word.
“LMU students are taught regional techniques, opioid sparing and opioid free techniques for pain management throughout their nurse anesthesia curriculum,” Goins said. “As this crisis grows, it is vitally important for students to look at the issue proactively.”
KyANA plans to distribute the materials through October. As a practicing CRNA in Middlesboro, Kentucky, Goins would like to offer to help any person or pharmacy in the region obtain these kits. For more information email her at Joy.Goins@LMUnet.edu.
“It is an honor to serve on the KyANA Board of Directors. CRNAs are innovators: we see a problem and we want to fix it,” Goins said. “The current board is a dynamic group of providers from all over the state. This initiative is a testament to how much we care about the communities and patients we serve.”
The LMU MSN nurse anesthesia concentration prepares nurses in an advanced practice role with competencies in nurse anesthesia across the life span. The 28-month program requires 81 semester hours of graduate course work, including five semesters in clinical practicum, a comprehensive exam and a completed directed scholarly project. The concentration is available at the LMU main campus.
Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or email at admissions@LMUnet.edu.